Q&A: Bassim Abdul Karim, director general of Basra Oil Company

Southern Iraq's top oil leader discusses efforts to activate a deal with TotalEnergies, expand production capacity, and overcome export infrastructure bottlenecks.
Bassim Abdul Karim, director general of the Basra Oil Company, visits the Majnoon oil field in May 2023. (ALI AL-AQILY/Iraq Oil Report)

MAJNOON - To take full advantage of its oil sector, Iraq needs not only to boost capacity at fields but also to expand capacity of export infrastructure in the Basra Gulf.

Basra Oil Company Director General Bassim Abdul Karim is overseeing efforts to do both.

In an interview with Iraq Oil Report, he discussed the activation of a mega-deal with TotalEnergies, through which the French company will boost production at the Ratawi oil field and use the revenues to finance infrastructure for water injection that is needed at other fields throughout southern Iraq.

As the operator of the state-run Majnoon field, BOC is also leading an effort to expand capacity from about 245,000 bpd currently to 600,000 bpd.

And BOC is responsible for projects to raise export capacity, by installing a new pipeline to a system of single point mooring (SPM) buoys in the Basra Gulf and replace outdated pipelines to the al-Basra Oil Terminal and the Khor al-Amaya Oil Terminals.

Much of the work to rehabilitate export infrastructure depends on financing that has not yet been secured, but any investments are likely to pay strong dividends: in total, the projects promise to take southern export capacity from 3.25 million bpd currently to at least 4.5 million bpd in a first phase, with an ultimate target of 6 million bpd.

A full transcript of the interview is available below for subscribers.

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